The Convenient Excuse for Climate Change


pollution! by Agustin Ruiz licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Donald Trump tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”

This raises the question, is global warming a conspiracy? The overwhelming scientific consensus says no. In fact, research suggests that carbon dioxide emissions and the Earth’s average temperature have continued to rise, since the 1800s. Some of the main causes of global warming are emissions from the usage of fossil fuels, transportation, and agricultural activities. Scientists have tried to counteract the high release of emissions through the development of certain technologies: commercialization of electric and hybrid cars, implementation of renewable energy sources, development of eco-friendly fertilizers, innovations to the fuel combustion mechanisms in vehicles that increases efficiency, etc.

Despite their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations, scientists have failed to ultimately stabilize the effect of global warming. Even the most idealistic global warming scenario suggests that greenhouse gas concentration will continue to rise, at least, until 2040. Yet, greenhouse gases still take several decades before its warming effect is felt; so, even if we all hypothetically ceased emitting greenhouse gases immediately, the temperature would still rise for years to come.

pollution! by Agustin Ruiz licensed under CC-BY 2.0

Does this mean we should give up? Definitely not. Our 7.4 billion global population can have a massive impact on Earth, but only if we can act as one united entity. Science is failing to fight the effects of climate change, because science alone cannot solve our problems – it all comes down to whether or not society can accept that climate change is a problem to be solved.

As individuals, could we contribute as well? Many UNIS students think that global warming is an issue too big for them to make a difference. A UNIS student (who wishes to remain anonymous) said “global warming is not my problem is it?” In fact, more than half of the 45 UNIS students surveyed showed carelessness on the issue. However, many experts disagree with this statement – even in its very name, global warming is a threat to every single living being on the planet. Its damage doesn’t only affect the poor, the coastlines and the drought-stricken; in an increasingly interconnected yet fragile society, a shift in the climate of one region will consequently affect the life of communities elsewhere, even if that region isn’t directly affected by a change in the weather patterns. Even the US military has concluded that climate change poses a threat to the country’s security – realizing that climate change has a direct effect on the livelihood of many Middle East and North African countries, which in turn amplifies the conflicts in the region.

Climate change is everybody’s problem. We must stop expecting scientists “out there” and technologies to solve global warming for us. When you are in the showers enjoying hot water rushing down your body, stop and have a think if it was really necessary for you to use that extra 8 liters of heated water. Walk instead of taking a taxi ride from UNIS to Jaffas. Raise awareness, debate, write – take every opportunity you can to reduce your own footprint, and convince others to do the same. If there is even a sliver of doubt within our society that we must take action to combat climate change, then this issue of our generation will continue to grow.

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